Twelve Ways To Tell If You’re Creative


Recently a mate who plans Powerpoint presentations for corporations said to me; ‘You know what it’s like, you’re creative as well, aren’t you?’ and I rather meanly thought ‘Yes, but you’re not.’ A lot of jobs seem to dangle the promise of ‘creativity’ as some kind of career sop to counterbalance the boringness of the job, but just how do you define a creative career? A group of my friends tried to create a set of questions that would help to answer this (all right, yes, we were in a pub) and here’s what we came up with.

1. Do you know where your next paycheck is coming from?

2. There are two pieces of mail in your post. One is your bank statement and the other is from the National Film Theatre. Which one do you open?

3. Are colours and music more important to you than facts and figures?

4. Between the ages of 6 – 10 did you spend the main part of your time drawing/writing/reading to the exclusion of everything else?

5. Do you know anything at all about sport? Anyone? Bueller? Anyone?

6. Do you sometimes forget which direction your house is in?

7. Have you been known to describe a book/film/play/piece of art to someone first without remembering your real reason for calling?
(‘Oh, I forgot to mention my mother died yesterday.’)

8. When your accountant is explaining why you’re broke, do you kind of just stop listening?

9. Do you only ever get to turn right when boarding planes?

10. Do you own a tie, left over from when someone died, proper shoes or a black jacket?

11. Do you laugh at people with side partings?

12. Do you speak Hungarian?*

*Apparently ‘speaking Hungarian’ is London slang for the burbling rubbish you hear drunk creatives talking in Shoreditch bars.

Clue: If you gave three ‘No’ answers you are a Creative.

11 comments on “Twelve Ways To Tell If You’re Creative”

  1. Joel Meadows says:

    A very funny post. Some of these things seem familiar;)

  2. Jon Gowshall says:

    I answered “no” to question 2. Surely that’s all I need?

  3. keith page says:

    I didn’t actually answer ‘yes’ to many of these

  4. Dan Terrell says:

    4 out of 12 only, but I think there are more tells out there. Here’s one: Do you ever creatively riff on something someone has said in passing to such a clever extent the source of your riff steps back, looks at you, and then moves away so your UFO can collect you without his/her also being taken up? Such riffing should require the aid of adult beverages or missed meds.

  5. Dan Terrell says:

    Sorry read the last line as: “Such riffing should Not require the aid of adult beverages or missed meds.” There’s quite enough of that already going on.

  6. Helen Martin says:

    I’m not sure about this. Does talking to yourself a lot in your teens count? Does compulsively watching and listening to strangers count? Doesn’t everyone answer yes to #8 and I occasionally wear a tie, does that eliminate me? Dan, I have so far managed to restrict that to mental activity only.

  7. Lostintown says:

    Does “the Hungarian” have anything to do with the excellent English film “Skeletons”?

    Are they in any way related?
    Just a thought…

  8. Alan Morgan says:

    I’ve got a mate who programmes databases at work, which he believes makes him ‘creative’. Or rather, ‘creative, like you’. Whereas a I hack out words and the occasional picture to pay the rent. I’m not a creative; I work for a living. Aho.

    You Chris of course write using skills and experiences learned. The story, the ideas, they’re creative. Getting it done and well (as opposed to flouncing around the hills up here in a big shirt) is why it’s a craft.

    It’s still creative. Just that the whole word has been smothered for me by people who might cook the odd meal to express their creative side*. Or that they are ‘basically creative’. They can’t write, draw, play an instrument or spin a pot – but hey, as long as someone’s a wonderfully creative person then they’re fascinating at dinner parties.

    Man, I need to get out of the bloody sticks and back near to the smoke again…

    *The BBC Masterchef infection. Like the word passion being applied to everything. As long as anyone can say they’re passionate about something it certainly seems to save them bloody doing it. Masterchef (for my fellows here that don’t have their own version) is when middle-aged lawyers and women with ethnic necklaces bemoan their need to express themselves in a wonderful new life in gorgeous kitchens. Rather than, say, going to catering college and working up through the kitchens on shitty split shifts.


  9. John Howard says:

    Mmm. Creative (someone who creates) versus talented (someone who produces something original).

    Chris, you are talented whereas your Powerpoint mate might create. Dali, Picasso, Monet etc were all talented whereas card illustrators create. Arthur C Clarke, J.P.Donlevey, John Le Carre etc are talented whereas Dan Brown creates. The Beatles, Pink Floyd, John Barry are talented whereas Sweet create.

    I create every day when I am at work (this doesn’t involve Powerpoint presentations) but I am certainly not talented.

  10. Helen Martin says:

    John, that sounds clear enough to be getting on with. I’m learning Powerpoint to create slides to illustrate and assist worship services – right, but no real talent required. You might want to throw the word ‘skill’ in there. “She uses her skill with powerpoint to create a very attractive addition to the service.”

  11. Karl Toffle says:

    Jeepers, such snobbery and narrowmindedness! If your friend feels he sufficiently expresses his creative side through his work, good for him. I’m sure he has to brainstorm, and uses his tools (powerpoint) in a way that is unique to him, picking colours and shapes as suit his tastes. Sounds pretty creative to me.

    I’ve thought before with Excel that anyone can plonk numbers in boxes, the same as anyone can hit a drum to make a sound, but occasionally you get a spreadsheet with beautifully, intricately constructed formulas, intuitive layouts and colour schemes – that’s just a modern-day craftmanship, in a modern medium.

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